Saturday, January 15, 2011

Thoughts on learning to leave..

It is night time..
we have splashed in the bath..
rolled around in bed..
said our "good nights"
exchanged our kisses..
This is the time when I watch my son slip away into sleep; resting close to my heart and skin; nursing him until his face relaxes..
his arms fall limp..
artist Thomas Sully
This is our bedtime routine.
It is about the same for naptime.
Upon awakening in the night, he looks for me, reaching for my chest; sometimes just the comforting touch will help him back to dreamland.
I cherish our bond..our moments together...the smell of his fuzzy hair in my face..
the buttery scent of his breath..
Life is beginning to change gradually for us.
I will (hopefully) be beginning my full year observation in a waldorf classroom as a prerequisite for acceptance into the Early childhood waldorf teacher training program. One full morning away from my boy.
artist Margaret Kane
This summer, I will attend a one-week intensive "Introduction to Waldorf" course 2 hours north of us. Frightened (and plain old just not ready) to leave for the evening, I will drive back and forth every day. Perhaps the long car ride will allow me time to sort through the day's events..
I worry for naptime, as my little sprite needs me to fall into sleep. Rest is imperative for young children, and I feel that we both thrive on his lengthy day time naps.
I am beyond thrilled for my experience this summer, but there is a part of me that is grieving a bit. It is the start of me leaving home. Leaving our rhythm. Pursuing a career.
It's a hard decision, but it is what will ultimately be best for everyone in our little family. For Daddy, as he needs help paying our bills and dreams of starting his own business. For W, as he will be able to attend a fantastic Waldorf school as a child of an (aspiring) faculty member. For me, fulfilling a dream. Expressing my passions. Having (what I hope to consider) the ultimate learning experience. I have been waiting my whole life for this!!!'
I ponder, "Will this be the beginning of the weaning process?"
"Will W learn to fall into sleep on his own?"
"Is there a gentle way to do this, gradually?"
"Will my temporary absence be a huge shock to him?"
"How will I feel about this??"
Advice is so very welcome..
How do you handle leaving?


  1. Oh dear Rebecca, I cannot offer too much advice as to the leaving part, (we still almost never do it even 10 years into parenting!), but perhaps some on the weaning. Or maybe not, because we were very slow on that also, it wasn't until past two years old that we even partially weaned. My girls were just like W too, always and only nursing to sleep. I was fine with that, but it was the nursing all night long at 2+ years old that got to be a little too much. So we would begin the "you may nurse to sleep at bedtime and then not again until the sun is coming up please." Not quite that simple of course, but it went well enough. And I'm sure that because you so understand the importance of rhythm in your little ones days you will find a graceful and loving way to work through this transition time with him. You have some time to think about it, and you have some time to get started soon enough, it will not have to be anything too sudden.
    These wonderful opportunities you have will be such a gift to your family!
    Thinking of you and sending love (even if I have been very very quiet lately...)
    Renee xoxo

  2. Dear Rebecca, how exciting for you, you starting new things, away from your son! The only thing I can say is: isn't this what life's about? About letting go? I have two children, 10 and 13 now, a boy and a girl, and I also had to let them go when I was working when they were still young. And they are doing fine, I can tell you! And so am I, and that's also very important. Fullfill your dreams and W will be happy too! Love, Barbara

  3. Sweet mama, it will all work out! You both maybe sad in the begining, but your family will soon learn a new ryhthm and love the newness!


  4. Rebecca, you will be able to let go!
    It's not as hard as it seems. I have a 2½ and a 5 month old. The older is totally weaned and gets to spend weekends at my in-laws (because they steal her!) and it's great to have some time alone with the younger, who can't be without mom around. I don't plan on starting to work so I can't tell, but you've got to do that for you. You're not just W's mom, you're also Rebecca!

  5. Oh that sounds like it would all work so well for all 3 of you, and be worth working through any little niggles. What an adjustment, but you supporting and nurturing your little man through the changes will help him cope - and all the stability and attachement and awareness of him and his needs you have already poured in will help him cope. My two HATE me being away - at age 3 and 7 - but they have issues that come from being adopted, and despite the fact that I seldom leave them and only with dada/nana/aunty they believe I will not come back, but a securely attached little cub like yours will cope and my most securely attached child sometimes actually can enjoy me popping out and coming back - it seems to help reinforce our love. Those "welcome home mama" cuddles and kisses are so sweet and ardent!

  6. Hello Love,
    I started yoga teacher training when Hazel was just four months old. It was one full weekend a month but I could come home in the evening. It was hard, but it was wonderful to see my little family handle it in support of me. I must mention this. I believe that the scary thoughts come to me because I don't leave them often. So when I do, I worry about something happening to me while I am away. This highlights for me how it must feel to those small ones when we leave them and they don't understand. I gives me more compassion towards the crying little ones. But in pulling away for a little time, I teach myself and my children the importance of nurturing oneself as well as the ones you love.

  7. Also, as one who is often left with the babies- there is absolutely no change in behavior when they are in care part-time. You can expect a long night and extra nursing in the first few days. Babies in Full-time care do require extra attention from their provider. I try to use a sling with them, but some push me away and want little to do with me while mama is away (babies under age one).

  8. oh dear sweet mama, i have in the years past realized that when everyone in the family is moving in the direction that the universe has inspired in you -- you can't go wrong! It sounds like your little lovie has a very strong bond with you -- and that will give him the confidence it takes to be away from you -- temporarily through the day --- When i thought i was gonna have to return to work when my son was small -- i started sleeping with a waldorf bunting doll weeks before -- my plan was to give it to him for naps when i left-- then i began working from home-- but -- it still worked like a little fairy charm for his nap time and bedtime. Much love and light to you --- it really will all come together ....

  9. sorry -- what i forgot to say was that the bunting doll started to smell like me --- an that comforted him when i wasn't there...
    light and peace

  10. hi rebecca,
    this is the third time i've been back to this post. i read it once late at night and had to go to sleep - but i lay there and thought of what i could say to you. then yesterday i wrote out a comment and ended up not leaving it. now that i've warmed your winter day with my sunny post and you stopped by, i feel i must leave you a comment. perhaps my words are meant to be heard by you. ;) i know how you feel because i had to go back to work when my boy was only 4 months old. it is not easy. you will just have to go through it. fortunately for you, you are following a dream that you have wanted to pursue your whole life. what you are doing is something that will have a wonderful positive effect on not only you, but W and your whole family. because of this, you will probably feel empowered by what you are doing and have a lot of energy to deal with the grief. you are very lucky that it is only one morning a week away as well as one week in the summer. but, i know this is just the beginning as you say, of being more away... if it is a way towards gradual weaning maybe you want to use this opportunity to wean. for me and E, it was our bond that kept me feeling close to him as a mother. i was gone during the day. daddy or grandma rocked him in their arms to sleep for a nap and i got him to sleep at night with 'nene' and nursed him all night long... i felt like i was a night time mommy. he only did stop nursing all night long when i stopped working and was a full time stay at home mommy. i think kids are much more resilient than we are when it comes to separation. remember to make quick quiet goodbyes and not to show your distress over leaving. i always parted with, "i'll be back." it was so heart wrenching the days he's cry. sometimes i cried on my way to work. it is not easy. but, you will get through it all. big hug and lots of love to you!

  11. now i remember that i was also going to say (the first time after i read your post) that this experience will help you better in your work with the kids left in your care when you start your waldorf daycare program.. you will have your own insight into how it feels to be one of those parents leaving their precious child with someone else.

  12. It is time to start weaning my almost three year old... it is not going to be easy.
    Thinking about you, but I am sure with your tenderness, it will be an easier transition.

  13. Rebecca, This is such a milestone moment for your relationship with your child. With the first two babes I found that the anticipation far exceeded any discomfort that happened from weaning. I night weaned both my older two children halfway through my pregnancies with the following child. I found it so very important *for me* to be the one to hold my child while they expressed unhappiness at this new way of sleeping. My husband began with my first while I waited outside the bedroom door, all knots and heartache. But with my daughter, I did it. I had to. And you know, it was fairly easy. Both were around two years old. Maybe my son was a bit older. Consistency is essential. And compassion. I feel for you, this is tough. With my littlest baby boy, I feel I will let him nurse as long as he wants, but really, I anticipate I'll be doing this dance again one day. Good luck, he will feel your love for him.
    xo Jules

  14. Rebecca, what a hard transition. I hope you the best. I don't have any advice, just say that I'll be thinking of you and W. We've had daddy gone a lot lately, and its been a hard transition for my little ones not to have him around all the time. Very hard, but we are trying to nurture connections even while separate.


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